Some highly anticipated movies opened Thursday night, including a Brad Pitt flick that is already nominated for multiple Golden Globes. Despite the dismal economy, chances are people will still pack the theater this weekend to catch a movie. The Great Depression; a time of suffering, job losses, and families were forced to cut back - except when it came to one thing. “In the 30's the population in the US was about 128 million, 78 million American’s bought movie tickets every week,” said UNCW Film Studies Chair, Lou Buttino. Historically, people have flocked to feature films as a way to escape the harsh realities of life. Ticket sales also soared after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 70's oil crisis. Lou Buttino said there's a reason for that. “It is a way of breaking from the world that you're in. I know when I go to the movies, whatever is on my mind is gone. It is escapism, sometimes it’s a way to find joy, hope, like in the movie It's a Wonderful Life,” he said. Even when life isn't so wonderful, like now - America is in the middle of another recession, foreclosures are on the rise, companies are closing and the US auto industry is on the brink of disaster - it is enough to make someone want to get away, and for many, a two-hour vacation to a local theater is the answer. “It brings people together. It is a chance to be close with each other. It isn't that big of an expense if you think about it. Something to do and fairly inexpensive compared to other things you can do,” said Michael Dugan. Lori and Michael Dugan have gone to a few movies recently. They are part of the reason ticket sales are up this year over last year. “It is an escape, and it is a cheap escape, especially compared to all the other things you could do its fairly inexpensive and it's easy,” said Lori. So while a seven or eight dollar movie ticket might not be enough to break the bank, some still look for ways to catch a flick, while still saving a few bucks. Movie fan, Cameron Weaver, said, “Matinees. That's the way to go, but even they've gotten more expensive than they should in my opinion.” While ticket sales have been up the past few months, it looks like Hollywood’s solid year is ending with a whimper. The box office plunged this past weekend, down 44% from the same weekend last year.
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